This week might have been the toughest week we had so far, and not necessarily physically intense. We have been surpassed by the family on multiple points. The first time we were surpassed by the family was when they made a concrete “half slab” that doesn’t really have a use in building. We had many discussions that we wouldn’t need this feature. One day we showed up to the field and the workers had already made a part of the half slab, as told by the father of our family (Cleophas).
This we hesitantly accepted, because it is still his house and we are just advisors. Our role as advisers became less apparent when our advice was neglected for a second time. Here we made our first walls with sundried mud bricks and mud mortar to fill the joints, despite all the discussions to use cement mortar. We decided to stand our ground and not give in to the ideas of the fundi and Cleophas. We have spent almost 3 month working on our methods, we shouldn’t change this from one day to another. As insult to injury Cleophas showed up to our building site completely drunk and proceeded to have an argument with Michiel about the fact that he (Cleophas) surpassed us the past week. Michiel was present to help us for a day, and he chose exactly the right day to visit. This would have been a vast reality check for Cleophas, so we thought.
The next day we would have a conversation with Cleophas, the fundi and us about how we would continue. Here we decided to continue our was of building, but this would mean that the fundi would withdraw from the project. So we continued the day to lay the stones with our mortar and this would be a nice future prospect.
Starting off we discovered that literally no measurement was correct and so we spend the entire day trying to fix the level of the wall. Of course we didn’t make the progress we wanted because of all the levelling we needed to do. This was noticed by Cleophas, and he was not happy about the fact that things were moving slow.
It all reached the limit when we got a text from mercy during our night out. She told us that the family was suffering from the fact that Cleophas didn’t get to use his cement mortar. Knowing that Cleophas likes his drink now and then we decided that we would give in to his demand, because we came here to help this family and we would not want to have them suffer on a decision we have made.
The following weeks we would be building the way that has always been done here, the thought of giving them a house that would change the way of building here was vanished… Except for the fact that there are people knowing how to use the sundried bricks.